Networking is both: a private and professional activity. On April 8th, the International Advertising Association invited members and marketers from all over the world to join the first-ever IAA Clubhouse Talk with networking champion and author of several networking books: Amy C. Waninger. The Founder and CEO of Lead at Any Level shared her secrets of how to build a diverse and strong network.

Networking is a skill that pays dividends

Networking has changed since the pandemic. How can we leverage our current network now and in the future, when we return to seeing each other in real life again? The Clubhouse-Talk, moderated by Natasja-Sommer-Fedbrugge (IAA-Boardmember of the Swiss Chapter), offered Tips & Tricks from professionals on networking.

The first opportunity to network is at school. Then you start looking for your first job. You send your CV everywhere, you attend job markets, you get introduced to people that get you where you want to go. All these activities are based on your network.

Amy C. Waninger

Networking is NOT sales. It is a very powerful tool and creates opportunities for yourself and for others. It is almost impossible to do too much networking, especially in a scenario like job hunting. Networking is a time investment that pays dividends! Investing one hour a day helps to stay top of mind.

Networking helps me to make connections. Not only for myself and my business, but also for other people. If I know, what they’re working on, I can be a good match maker.

Author Amy C. Waninger

How to build your network

When going to an event, prepare yourself. Read the information online. If there’s a guest list online, send other attendees an invite to connect via LinkedIn. And after the event, send them questions on the event. Talk about common goals and connection points. And make sure to stay top of mind over time.
When Amy C. Waninger started building her network, she didn’t see herself as a networker. She had to get comfortable with herself. She reframed „networking“ as: „how can I be of more service to people“ and „how can I help them?“.
The author of books including „Network Like A Champ“ and „Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career“ has continued building her network during the pandemic.

Everyone lives in my computer now. Networking with someone in the same town versus some one across the globe. It is the same now. You can even do it in a different language by using Google translate. In a virtual world, we are all in the same place. Just connect with all the people you meet online. Start following others on Clubhouse, when attending a session or look up profiles, when attending any other online event and make connections on LinkedIn.
Always make sure that you ask follow up questions to really get to know each other.

Amy C. Waninger, Founder & CEO of Lead at Any Level

How to prioritize networking

Figure out your network with CHAMP:

C – Customer – outside of your organization. You need to know why you are chosen over your competition.

H – Someone you Helped. That creates good will. Nobody forgets the one that helped him/her.

A – Associate. Someone of the same level. See it like a work buddy. Someone you check in with.

M – Mentor. You listen and make notes. It might be someone you follow on social media. 

P – Protégé. Who are you investing in and who you help. 

Invest in a diverse network

Many of your customers are usually in a different industry. To grow a diverse network and learn about the needs of others, it is important to also invest in connections to people that are not in the same business as you are, that have not the same background or same interests. When visiting an event for example, also go to break out sessions where you are the minority. Track your connections! What have you missed? What do you need to do? Who is missing in your network? Spread the opportunity widely. Not just in your bubble.

Amy C. Waninger, author of several networking books

Most important! Networking is not about reciprocity. Pay the favor forward. Don’t think about the transaction. It is not about monetization, it is about karma.

About Amy C. Waninger

Amy C. Waninger is the Founder and CEO of Lead at Any Level. She works with organizations around the globe who want to build inclusive cultures and diverse leadership pipelines for a sustainable competitive advantage. She is the author of multiple books, that you can find on Amazon, including „Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career.“ Amy is a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP), Certified Diversity Executive (CDE), and Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. She is also a Professional Member of National Speakers Association, a Certified Virtual Presenter, and a Prosci Certified Change Practitioner. Her other credentials include two degrees from Indiana University and a „World’s Best Mom“ coffee mug.